Obama Attends Harlem Fundraiser

By John Noel
|  Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011  |  Updated 7:56 PM EDT
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What did the President have to say?

What did the President have to say?

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President Barack Obama was in town to attend a fundraiser in Harlem Tuesday night, where 50 people are spending $30,800 a plate to have dinner with him at the Red Rooster restaurant.

The event is expected to raise $1.5 million for the Democratic National Committee.

"It's a very big deal for Harlem," said Lloyd Williams, executive director of the Harlem Chamber of Commerce. "It's a very big deal for the president of the United States to understand that he can come to non-traditional communities and get strong economic support."

Hours before the president's arrival, a crowd had already gathered outside the restaurant, where the menu features blackened catfish, hearth-baked macaroni and cheese and collard greens.

Serena Mapson stopped by on her lunch break to check it out.

"I think it's an excellent thing that he's coming to Harlem to do a fundraiser and I think he's an excellent president and he's doing a marvelous job," said Mapson.

After the fundraiser, the president was expected to attend a reception for 250 people at the Studio Museum around the corner.

The White House added that stop to the President's agenda after the Harlem Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns about the limited number of people who would be able to attend the pricey dinner.

Earlier in the day, Obama helped dedicate a federal building in New York City in memory of the late Ron Brown, a Democratic trailblazer who Obama says helped make his presidency possible.

Brown was the first black Commerce secretary. He served under Bill Clinton -- the man Brown helped win the presidency in 1992 when Brown also was the first black Democratic Party chief.


 

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